What you need to know about marriage
Q&A Driving the Debate
Marriage: What it is, why it matters, and the consequences of redefining it
Heritage Foundation – Ryan T. Anderson – 3/11/2013
This article is quite long and comprehensive - only a few paragraphs are below:
Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There is nothing illegal about this.
What is at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages—and then force every citizen, house of worship, and business to do so as well. At issue is whether policy will coerce and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.
Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The color of two people’s skin has nothing to do with what kind of marital bond they have. However, the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race need moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what, at an essential level, makes a marriage.
We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.
Government exists to create the conditions under which individuals and freely formed communities can thrive. The most important free community—the one on which all others depend—is the marriage-based family. The conditions for its thriving include the accommodations and pressures that marriage law provides for couples to stay together. Redefining marriage would further erode marital norms, thrusting government further into leading roles for which it is poorly suited: parent and discipliner to the orphaned; provider to the neglected; and arbiter of disputes over custody, paternity, and visitation. As the family weakened, welfare programs and correctional bureaucracies would grow.
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